Thursday, May 6, 2010

Does Sharing Your Art with the World Always Change the Artist?

Right now, I am consumed by teaching. I am constantly thinking about new playlists and new moves and ideas for workshops and on and on. When I am moving, it is either in a class or as I search for the right choreography for this or that song.*

(*NOTE: This post has little or nothing to do with being paid money for my creations. I have NO issue with that. Artists should be paid and paid well. Period. I've written about this before.)

I have realized recently that I am not dancing just for me.

This is distressing. "Free dancing," as I refer to it, is vital to my well-being. It refuels me. It centers me. It is my Practice and my Prayer.

I had a discussion with another artist about this recently, and she said it seems to be The Great Struggle. That once you put yourself out there, in whatever way -- teaching or performing or selling -- it changes everything. Whenever you approach your instrument -- your guitar, paintbrush, body, whatever -- you find that your relationship to it has been altered.

You tend a garden for others and soon you find that your Secret Garden is filled with leggy, overgrown plants that are no longer blossoming.

An extreme self-consciousness has grown like a noxious weed.

Have you had this same experience? How have you dealt with it? Do you have a favorite weed killer?


kazari said...

I really, really recommend you read Goddess Leonie's Sacred Commerce post. It cleared up a lot of this stuff for me.
I won't put the link in, cos this comment might get spammed, but if you google it you should find it : )

Anonymous said...

I have private and public art that I do. My writing and photography that I share with the world on my blogs is public. The stuff that I write in my paper journals is private. I'd bet dollars to donuts that there are times you still dance for yourself. You just turn on the music and move.

The classes you teach are the outward expression of what one of your passions is. I think you put it best in your "I Heart Dance" Post:

"I am passionate and excited and happy and invigorated and challenged, and I wake every day with a sense of purpose and love for life that I have never known."

You put yourself out there the minute you ignored the voices that were telling you not to take the Yoga Dance Class. That is when you fundamentally changed your outlook and made the leap.

Christine Claire Reed said...

Kazari, Thanks for the comment; it made me realize I needed to do a tiny edit and add a note toward the top of this post. :)

Like I (newly) noted, I have NO issues with being paid. I am having a hard time with always thinking of the consumer rather than just losing myself in the art.

Megan Potter said...

Bliss darling,

This is totally normal. I talked to a friend once about the stress of working as an art teacher and freelance artist and feeling like she couldn't find her own joy in the art as she did before. I know I have this struggle when I come to the blog to write (and then, because I'm thinking of the audience try too hard and it becomes a flop).

My answer:
- have a space that is yours alone. A space in your house, or in your heart, where your dance is only ever about you.
-Set an intention to only dance for yourself for the ne
-xt 10 mins and release thinking. Try something new, something you can't/won't use professionally that keeps it your own.
- Experiment with other creative expressions, let them prime your pump for making dancing your own again.
- Take some down time, do something frivolous (walking, reading, etc) and come back to dance when you feel the inspiration strike!

I have that problem about being obsessed with a thing. That's when I change my focus entirely (because I find small shifts in focus more difficult) a little while with pencil crayon, a fun novel, or under the sun always helps me come back to it less obsessed. I'm sure you'll be able to find the thing that works for you.

What matters most is that you are aware of it and aren't willing to let it be your "norm"!


Julia said...

I'm negotiating with this as well, and have more or less accepted there is commercial work I do, which involves making something I like for sale and then replicating it. I consider my buyers when making these things. And there is work I do for love, which involves making one-of-a-kind pieces that I love and that don't sell as frequently. I follow my heart in making those pieces. That is how I've resolved the issue, but for me it involved finding a balance.

Rowena said...

I actually find the generosity of sharing one's art to be incredibly fruitful.

I was hugely creative when I was teaching art and poetry and creative writing. I pushed myself in ways I never had before. And watching my students grow, and their responses to my own work was a very rich experience.

And you know, sharing my art on my blog has also served to push me forward, to challenge myself, to grow and learn.

To enter into the conversation, one that previously was only held between me and myself, in my journals and notebooks.

But a one side conversation is not a conversation. It's a monologue. There is no outside feedback to let the air into things.